The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Goa crime branch has arrested an iron ore trader in connection with a multi-crore mining scam.
A probe was already underway against the accused, Kancha Gaunder, a registered trader with the state mines and geology department, in connection with the illegal mining case, a senior official attached to the SIT told reporters here yesterday.
“Gaunder was placed under arrest last evening as he was not cooperating with the investigating officer,” he said.
Besides traders, government and mining firm officials, former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat of the Congress is among those being investigated by the SIT.
“Gaunder did not cooperate during questioning. His bank accounts show huge transactions but he was not able to give a satisfactory reply about them,” the official said.
He allegedly paid huge sums to mining lease holders as well as illegal suppliers of ore for purchase of iron ore and sold it to exporters thereafter, the SIT official said.
“During the investigation, we also found he had not filed returns for iron ore trading which caused a loss to the state exchequer,” he said.
As per the report of the Justice M B Shah Commission, illegal mining to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore had taken place in Goa from 2005 to 2012.
A complaint in this connection was filed by the mines and geology department in July 2013.
Subsequently, a special team of Goa crime branch was formed in 2014 to probe the scam.